Identifying the major spilled oil constituents and fate in harsh offshore environments

Withana, Kasun Chamara (2016) Identifying the major spilled oil constituents and fate in harsh offshore environments. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The behaviour and fate of spilled oil in harsh marine environments, such as the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean are complex due to environmental factors and the composition of the crude. In order to develop appropriate oil spill prevention and management methods, we must first understand how the oil behaves in these harsh environmental conditions. This study focuses on determining the fate of oil in harsh marine environments by first identifying target compounds in the oil that can be used to determine the fate of a spill. This thesis presents the partitioning behaviour of six polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which represent different groups, and phenols in cold conditions. The smallest PAH, naphthalene, dominated in terms of concentration in water accommodated fraction (WAF) of oil, while the larger ringed PAHs presented at lower concentrations. The smallest oil-water partition coefficient was recorded by phenol which partitioned into the seawater more quickly than PAHs. The partitioning of larger PAHs was slower and they indicated high partition coefficients. The oil partitioning increased slightly as temperature increased from 4ᴼC to 15ᴼC. The oil loading (0.1 g/L to 10 g/L) also contributed in deciding the concentrations in water. The use of chemical dispersants is a common response to spills. This study identified that chemical dispersants can change the fate of an oil spill by increasing the availability of oil in seawater. The concentration of larger PAHs such as pyrene and chrysene increased significantly with the application of dispersants. The information obtained are used in developing a molecular imprinted polymer (MIP) sensor to identify oil spills in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 11760
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 105-116).
Keywords: dispersants, harsh environments, oil spill, PAHs, partitioning behaviour
Department(s): Engineering and Applied Science, Faculty of
Date: May 2016
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Oil spills--Environmental aspects; Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; Phenols; Dispersing agents--Effectiveness--Monitoring; Seawater--Organic compound content

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